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Handling Position + Air + a Draw

Published October 10, 2008 - RSS/XML Feed RSS

By Sean Gibson

In this hand our hero does the right thing and makes a steal bet of 3x the big blind. The big blind calls, and through the use of HUD (Heads Up Display) stat keeping, our hero knows that this villain is a 70/8/2 fish (meaning he plays 70% of all his hands!). The flop comes K56 with two hearts. This is not a bad place to cbet with a King on the board, but the “draws” (meaning 56 and two hearts)  make it less than ideal since someone drawing may call those cbets. However, our hero has one of those draws in the form of 34 and is open ended to a 2 or 7 (that’s hopefully not a heart). The hero checks the flop. This isn’t a bad move and is definitely debatable on whether or not to cbet (continuation bet), but this move is fine here and I don’t have much problem with it. A King comes on the turn and the villain leads out with a min-bet. 
Now for our hero, this card didn’t change a thing because even if the villain had a pair of Kings and just made trips, he’s still drawing to a hand that beats him. Our hero flats this bet which is one of the two “right” moves here because folding is simply not an option at this point.  The 7 comes up and it’s not a heart, so our hero is feeling very good about his hand because he’s only losing to 48 (very unlikely since we’re holding a 4) and 89 (another high unlikelihood). Chances are our villain has maybe one pair or if he’s lucky hit a K on that turn and was trying some sort of horrible slow-play. The villain leads out with an absolute value bet (trying to make the right amount of $ compared to the level of his hand) by betting $4 into a $2 pot. Our hero raises 2.5x which isn’t bad but a shove here is probably the best move. Regardless, our committed villain stacks off with that dirty K for failed trips against the hero’s straight.
To look at this hand from the villain’s perspective, he called a blind steal – first mistake. Unless you have a great drawing hand (JT suited) flatting this bet is wrong and even then I like raising against someone that is stealing with a wide range of starting hands. Either put up or shut up and a re-raise is always best against someone that is constantly over-stealing. The villain’s check on the flop is actually a good move – chances are our “stealing hero” here would continuation bet, in which case the plan is to check-raise and get him off his hand or any potential draws (straight/flush). The villain’s biggest mistake is the turn min-bet. This was an attempt to bet-raise against our hero while holding a big hand while not pricing out any of the draws. A bet here of $1.25 is mandatory – both to get value for trips, and also to price out draws who must “beat the pot odds” (a subject covered later) in order to make their draw. Finally, with the straight HITTING the river our villain fails to think that by calling the turn bet that the hero might actually have something, and over-bets the pot thinking their trips are invincible. The alarm bells didn’t go off when the hero raised with two Kings on the board and he simply stacked off against someone that he didn’t have beat.


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